LOWBALL SETTLEMENT OFFERS SHOULD BE AVOIDED
Everyone involved in a car collision is stressed. The victim needs funds to pay growing medical expenses and replace lost earnings, while the party at fault often fears losing a lawsuit. As a result, both parties are eager to settle a car accident case immediately before they’ve had time to consider their best choices. If you have been injured in a car accident, consult with a Colorado Springs car accident lawyer before accepting any settlement!
Consider the following scenario: you were recently involved in a rear-end car accident on Interstate 45 and are recuperating at home, unsure how you’ll pay your rent or mortgage now that you’re unable to work due to shattered bones and severe discomfort. The phone suddenly rings, and the person on the other end identifies himself as an insurance adjuster. He has some fantastic news for you! He wants to make you an offer of $2,000 as a settlement. He can get the paperwork to you as soon as possible. Simply sign, and he’ll deposit your check into your account the next day.
DO YOU BELIEVE THIS IS A DREAM COME TRUE? RECONSIDER YOUR POSITION.
This first offer is almost certainly much less than your injuries are worth, and the insurance adjuster is well aware of this. They know that when people’s financial worries grow, they want a speedy check-in in their hands, so they offer a modest sum in the hopes that a car accident victim would take it.
What’s the catch? You’ll lose your capacity to pursue proper compensation for your injuries after accepting the cheap settlement. You must sign a release before receiving the payment, stating that you will not seek extra compensation due to the accident. If you accept too little, you won’t be able to do much to improve the situation in the future.
Insurance adjusters make low-ball bids for a very basic reason. They already have a range in mind for how much they can give you before phoning or visiting you. An insurance adjuster will never make an initial offer in the middle or upper range of the range; instead, they will start low and work their way up. While an insurance adjuster may believe your injuries are worth $30,000, they would never make an offer even close to that amount.
An experienced car accident lawyer knows insurance company procedures, settlement ranges, and how offers operate, even if you aren’t. This is the advocate you need from the beginning of the process to tell you when a deal is too good to be true.
CALCULATING THE VALUE OF YOUR INJURIES
You’ll need some idea of how much your injuries are worth before you can evaluate if a settlement offer is too low. Medical bills, rehabilitation costs, missed payments, and car repairs are simple to calculate. You may place a monetary value on these financial losses. The insurance adjuster will add up these expenses, and you should know as well. Never assume the adjuster’s calculations are right.
Non-economic damages may also be available under Colorado law. However, they are more difficult to assess.
Car accident victims in Colorado, for example, may be entitled to compensation for: Suffering and pain
Anxiety and depression Loss of friendship
Loss of future earning capability if you cannot return to your previous or any work.
There is no intrinsic cash value to add up because they are intangible losses, such as medical expenditures. Instead, your lawyer may assess the worth of your pain, suffering, and other non-economic damages based on other facts.
When offering non-economic damages, certain insurance firms employ a multiplier technique. To calculate your non-economic compensation, they can multiply your economic damages (medical expenses and missed earnings) by three. This technique may significantly undervalue what you are entitled to for your pain and suffering, particularly if you have had a serious injury with long-term consequences. Never depend on the insurance company to determine the value of your losses.
Every accident is unique, and only an experienced car accident lawyer can properly assess the facts and decide how much compensation you are likely to obtain. Your car accident lawyer will come up with a settlement range based on this research that reasonably compensates you for the inconvenience in your life.
THE FIRST OFFER IS REJECTED
You should reject the insurer’s first offer as soon as possible. After all, the insurance salesperson is counting on you to haggle! Instead, make a strong first impression. Start with the upper end of your range when making a counter-offer. For example, you could have
calculated that your injuries are worth $40,000 to $70,000. Don’t make a counter-offer of
$40,000 since you’ll be stuck. Also, don’t respond with $55,000 since you won’t have much space to move with that. Instead, you’ll most likely answer with a figure around $70,000, which is the top limit of what you consider a reasonable settlement.
Negotiating a settlement for a car accident is similar to negotiating the price of a car at a dealership. Each party goes back and forth in increments until they reach a figure that both parties can agree on. You’ll provide facts regarding your economic and non-economic losses at each level of the discussion to demonstrate why you’re entitled to the amount you’re seeking for.
WHAT IF YOU’RE UNABLE TO AGREE? Don’t be concerned! A settlement is totally at the discretion of the parties. You may always walk away from settlement discussions and submit documents in court to commence a lawsuit if car insurance chooses to play hardball. Your lawyer cannot accept a settlement offer without your approval, and you will never be compelled to settle against your will. It’s all up to you.
THE RISKS OF MAKING A DECISION TOO SOON
There are several benefits to settling rather than going to trial. You can be certain that you will get money, typically receiving it sooner. However, there are evident risks associated with settling too quickly, including:
Your wounds haven’t healed yet. If you’ve had a traumatic brain injury, determining how much money you’ll need for future medical treatment may take longer. In this case, you may want to hold off on deciding until you have a clearer sense of how much money you’ll need.
You can’t sue once you’ve settled. You give away your right to sue for the injuries you sustained in the accident when you sign your settlement agreement. For example, there’s no need for an insurer to settle with you if you may still sue them in the future. If, for example, the other driver’s insurance policy maximum is smaller than your total losses, it may be advisable to litigate in court rather than settle your issue.
AFTER YOU FILE A LAWSUIT, YOU MAY CONTINUE TO NEGOTIATE A SETTLEMENT.
Because they are afraid of going to court, many individuals do not want to reject the insurance company’s offer and file an injury lawsuit. However, just because you file a lawsuit does not guarantee that your case will go to trial in front of a jury. In reality, most car accident claims are settled before going to trial.
Ongoing settlement discussions between your attorney, the defendant (the individual who caused the accident), and the defendant’s insurance company are a part of the litigation process. These talks may carry on for the duration of the case, right up until the jury renders a judgment.
But how are these settlement talks different from dealing with the insurance company directly during your first claim? The following are the reasons:
To begin, there are many stages to a lawsuit. One of them is discovery, which involves the parties sharing evidence. The defendant’s lawyer and the insurance company’s lawyer will both ask your lawyer for all of the proof you have to back up your claim. Similarly, your lawyer will request any evidence that the insurance company intends to refute the claim.
Having all relevant facts on the table may aid discussions by allowing both parties to see what the other is working with. If you have adequate proof to back up your claim, the insurance company may understand you have a good chance of winning. This may increase their chances of resolving the issue without going through the legal procedure.
Discovery may be an effective strategy for demonstrating that a jury is likely to decide in your favor, which can persuade the insurance company to pay you a fair sum.
GETTING RID OF TRIAL
The risk of going to trial becomes extremely serious after you file your claim. If you and the other party cannot reach an arrangement outside of court, the court will schedule your case for trial. Both parties must devote time and effort to preparing their claims, which may be a lengthy process.
Because settlement saves everyone time and money on trial preparation and court appearances, there may be an incentive for an insurance company to make an advantageous settlement arrangement after refusing to do so. You want an experienced litigator on your side, so the insurance understands you’re serious about going to trial if necessary.
CHOOSING YOUR TERMS
When a case is presented to a jury without a resolution, the jurors will listen to all evidence and arguments by trial rules. The destiny of the parties will then be in the hands of this group of individuals who have little to no expertise in the legal system. A jury may rule in your favor and give you extra money for pain and suffering, punitive damages, and other factors.
On the other side, the jury might find the defendant not guilty, dismiss your case, and leave you with nothing. There is no way of knowing what a jury will decide in many circumstances until the verdict is read, and there is no turning back.
Outside of the courtroom, it is often in the best interests of both parties to reach an agreement. You know precisely what you’re committing to when you negotiate a settlement agreement, and the insurance company knows exactly what they’ll have to pay you. This may be more preferable than the risk of a trial.
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLE:
In settlement discussions, a car accident attorney demands at least $350,000 for their client’s losses.
The insurance company will not settle for less than $100,000, which is much less than the damage claimant is entitled to.
They are unable to reach an agreement. Thus the case will be tried.
The jury determines that the insurance company owes the plaintiff $750,000 for their damages.
The insurance company ends up paying significantly more because it would not agree to a fair settlement.
Insurance companies and their lawyers often appear in court. They are familiar with the procedure and are aware of the dangers of bringing a matter to trial.
An insurance company will often settle during a lawsuit unless it believes: That the defendant was not the one who was responsible.
The plaintiff’s injuries are far less severe than alleged.
That the plaintiff’s settlement demands are irrational and that the plaintiff refuses to yield in discussions
Even with all this in mind, there is no assurance that your claim will be settled. It is critical to have an attorney who will not pressure you to accept a low-ball settlement only to avoid going to trial and ending the process. Instead, you want a lawyer who will fight for the amount you deserve, even if it means going to court.
CONTACT A COLORADO SPRINGS CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY TODAY.
Negotiating a settlement is an art form. An experienced car accident lawyer understands when to reject an offer and when to accept one—so contact a Colorado Springs car accident lawyer right away. We’ve helped numerous car accident victims collect the compensation they deserve for accidents that were caused by no fault of their own at Warrior, Attorney at Law.
Call 719-300-1100 now for a free first consultation with our experts or email us using our online contact form. You won’t have to pay anything up the advance, and you won’t have to pay anything at all until we win your case.